Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.

Fat Trel is the D.C. artist of the year, and it isn’t close. With Young Jeezy tempos and Gucci Mane zingers weaned on Jay-Z’s discography, Trel benefitted from an overload of raw talent; a savvy early buy-in to Instagram’s potential that helped assemble a digital youth coalition of the illing; and a short-lived affiliation with Wale’s Board Administration imprint at the height of Wale’s influence that shielded Trel from the block-to-block beefs that have historically stalled many a local hip-hopper.

His mixtape Nightmare on E Street arrived to nods from Spin and Pitchfork in April, but lacked the focus and instant stick of 2010’s knee-capping favorite No Secrets. That didn’t matter—nerds expected a rapper’s delight classic that would turn into a placeholder rap release on hipsters’ year-end lists. E Street was, instead, a vehicle for branding Trel as a hilarious, acid-tongued performer who routinely soundtracks bus rides to public school and Geno Smith’s pre-game locker room pump-ups.